Luke Winslow-King (Solo), Joshua Davis
Doors open at 7 pm. SEATING FOR THIS SHOW WILL BE LIMITED. WE DO NOT RESERVE OR GUARANTEE TABLES, SO EARLY ARRIVAL IS YOUR BEST BEST.
LUKE WINSLOW-KING: Luke Winslow-King’s latest album is an example of craftsmanship at the highest level, radiating a warmth and timeless elegance. Adept at mixing country, blues, R&B, rock ‘n’ roll, and folk influences intuitively and masterfully, Luke shapes a mood from many sources and shepherds it to a unifying place of acceptance and hope. Blue Mesa is both stately and approachable, manifestly proficient but deeply personal.
What sets this album above the singer and guitarist’s previous work is how he’s absorbed the offerings of a life in music. Born and raised in the Northern Michigan town of Cadillac, he moved to New Orleans at 19 and spent the next 15 years fully immersing himself in the musical waters that flow through there. Now that he’s moved on, it is the larger world, and the people and places in it, that enthralls him. From these travels and friendships comes a deeper and richer perspective on the American musical traditions he fell in love with at an early age.
From the first track, Luke effortlessly draws the listener into his genre-expansive, dynamic world. “You Got Mine,” co-written with friend and legendary local musician “Washboard” Lissa Driscoll (who passed away in September 2017), enchants with its laid back grace. Delicate touches of Paul Simon and Robert Cray color this paean to unconditional friendship and camaraderie. With crisp guitar lines evoking Mike Campbell, the gospel-tinged call-to-action “Break Down the Walls” and the easy-country amble “After the Rain” sit astride the solemn and the uplifting. The subtle Stax-inflected soul of the title track casts a disintegrating relationship against the inspirational scenery of the desert Southwest. “Farewell Blues,” a song written after he found out about his late father’s cancer diagnosis, has a resolute drifter’s wandering heart to guide it.
But no matter where he goes, the current of the Crescent City still tugs at Luke’s music. The sweaty riffs of “Thought I Heard You” are as hot as the beer is cold and the syncopated horns on “Chicken Dinner” are a big, playful flirtation. The psychedelic swamp boogie of “Leghorn Women” brims with charm, both suave and sinister, while the Tom-Petty-on-the-levee vibe of “Born to Roam” makes it a classic-in-the-making road trip anthem.
JOSHUA DAVIS: A tried and true Michigan musician, Joshua Davis released his latest album, The Way Back Home, in 2017. Produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos, The Way Back Home is Davis’ latest full-length studio album and first since his 2015 appearances as a Top 3 finalist on NBC’s “The Voice” (season 8). The 11 original Americana songs featured on The Way Back Home reflect an honest, hardworking family man scribing scenes of the cycle of life through dark, broken, hopeful, and triumphant times.
An upbringing that occupied the urban landscapes of Detroit while spending summers in the wilderness on the southern tip of Lake Superior in Marquette, MI brings into view the backdrop of Davis’ latest works. The Way Back Home follows a series of singular recordings (Fool Rooster, Magnolia Belles, A Miracle of Birds) by the prolific songwriter who has shared the stage with a “Who’s Who” of American folk music icons such as Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Greg Brown, and Abigail Washburn. Recorded in East Lansing, MI by legendary engineer Glenn Brown, The Way Back Home highlights Davis’ longtime collaboration with Jack White’s bassist Dominic John Davis, pianist Mike Lynch (Willie Nelson, Leon Russell), and drummer Mike Shimmin (The Olllam).
Already a heavily touring/recording artist with his previous band Steppin’ In It (who have released five albums) and as a solo act with five albums under his name, getting a call from “The Voice” was completely out of the blue for Davis. Unfamiliar with the show, he initially rejected the inquiry but the producers were persistent. After being convinced by his wife and allowed to skip the auditions, Davis signed up for an incredible six months in the national TV spotlight. He went on to sing high profile duets with Sheryl Crow (Live Finale: “Give It To Me”) and Adam Levine (Live Finale: “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shows”), and he helped break the mold of original material being showcased on “The Voice.” Davis was the first artist to sing an original on the show, which spawned the later segment, “This Week of Original Songs.”
Davis entered the recording sessions for The Way Back Home with a well-oiled machine of a voice primed for the collaboration with Steve Berlin. His rough-n-tumble grit mixes with an undeniable Midwesterner’s charm for a soaring vocal performance on The Way Back Home. With his voice taking center stage, Davis’ signature lyricism and deft acoustic guitar work is backed by a trio of Michigan’s finest musicians.
“The Way Back Home is a very personal look at where I’ve been and who I’ve become,” says Davis. “In my 20’s, I felt like a disconnected ghost going town to town performing every night, and it just wasn’t a healthy life. I’ve learned many valuable lessons in how to be a better person, husband and father. Home grows and changes with or without you. If you don’t pull it together, it’ll leave you behind. I feel very reassured to have found stable ground in life and in a career that isn’t necessarily filled with security. The album takes listeners through my own trials and tribulations.”